Carnaval San Francisco — one of the city’s, and the Mission District’s, biggest events — will be postponed until at least September, said Roberto Hernandez, the event’s executive producer.
“We were focused on responding to the crisis,” Hernandez told Mission Local. “And the first and most important thing is the health and well-being of our volunteers, artists, and community.”
Carnaval will likely join the Pride Parade, held in June, and other large-scale events in being delayed or canceled, as the pandemic has thrown normalcy into disarray. Researchers predict California COVID-19 cases will peak either in mid-April or mid-May.
“Folks can’t predict the future,” Mayor London Breed said at a Wednesday news conference. “We do know, when we start to get out of this, having large-scale events will be difficult.”
Usually held on Memorial Day weekend, Carnaval draws an attendance of around 400,000, and has been a long-standing and ever-growing Mission District tradition. Hernandez said the Carnaval organization is looking at Labor Day weekend to hold the event.
This year’s theme, conceived before the coronavirus outbreak, was “Salud es Poder,” or “Health is Power.” “The universe works in a certain way,” Hernandez said.
But the 500-odd volunteers who help put on Carnaval, Hernandez said, will not go to waste. He said the organization is “mobilizing the army” to educate the Mission community about health precautions, such as hand washing and social distancing, as well as food distribution and education on food banks.
“We have gone in full crisis response mode to help our community in these times,” he said.
One thing he’s noticed, however: “Too many people are hanging out on the street in the Mission.”
The education efforts — flyers and posters — are making a difference, Hernandez said, “but still not enough.”
“We’re going to go old-school and get bullhorns and make announcements,” he said.
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